Jeanne Salje, Ph.D.

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Microbiology, Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics   |   View CV
Room W450-W

Scrub typhus is a neglected but life-threatening vector-borne human disease that is endemic in many parts of Asia and that is estimated to affect at least 1 million people per year. Diagnostic challenges mean that whilst it is now known to be a leading cause of severe febile illness in many places, it has been overlooked for many years. Scrub typhus is caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, an obligate intracellular bacterium of the order Rickettsiales. As an obligate intracellular bacterium O. tsutsugamushi is strictly dependent on eukaryotic host cells to provide nutrients and protection for its growth and replication, and the molecular basis of this intimate relationship between bacterium and host cell is the focus of the Salje lab. We are particularly focused on the structure of the cell wall in O. tsutsugamushi, on the intracellular replicative cycle, and on the molecular basis of pathogenesis.

Dr. Salje is a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow. The Salje lab is based in two locations: the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) in Bangkok, Thailand ( & and the Public Health Research Institute (PHRI) in Newark, USA.

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Salje J (2021) Cells within cells: Rickettsiales and the obligate intracellular bacterial lifestyle. Nat Rev Microbiol 19: 375-390. PMI: 33564174

Salje J, Weitzel T, Newton PN, Varghese GM, Day N (2021) Rickettsial infections: A blind spot in our view of neglected tropical diseases. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 15: e0009353. PMI: 33983936

Atwal S, Chuenklin S, Bonder EM, Flores J, Gillespie JJ, Driscoll TP, Salje J (2021) Discovery of a Diverse Set of Bacteria That Build Their Cell Walls without the Canonical Peptidoglycan Polymerase aPBP. mBio 12: e0134221. PMI: 34311584

Mika-Gospodorz B, Giengkam S, Westermann AJ, Wongsantichon J, Kion-Crosby W, Chuenklin S, Wang LC, Sunyakumthorn P, Sobota RM, Subbian S, Vogel J, Barquist L, Salje J (2020) Dual RNA-seq of Orientia tsutsugamushi informs on host-pathogen interactions for this neglected intracellular human pathogen. Nat Commun 11: 3363. PMI: 32620750

Batty EM, Chaemchuen S, Blacksell S, Richards AL, Paris D, Bowden R, Chan C, Lachumanan R, Day N, Donnelly P, Chen S, Salje J (2018) Long-read whole genome sequencing and comparative analysis of six strains of the human pathogen Orientia tsutsugamushi. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 12: e0006566. PMI: 29874223

Otten C, Brilli M, Vollmer W, Viollier PH, Salje J (2018) Peptidoglycan in obligate intracellular bacteria. Mol Microbiol 107: 142-163. PMI: 29178391

Salje J (2017) Orientia tsutsugamushi: A neglected but fascinating obligate intracellular bacterial pathogen. PLoS Pathog 13: e1006657. PMI: 29216334

Atwal S, Giengkam S, Chaemchuen S, Dorling J, Kosaisawe N, VanNieuwenhze M, Sampattavanich S, Schumann P, Salje J (2017) Evidence for a peptidoglycan-like structure in Orientia tsutsugamushi. Mol Microbiol 105: 440-452. PMI: 28513097

Atwal S, Giengkam S, VanNieuwenhze M, Salje J (2016) Live imaging of the genetically intractable obligate intracellular bacteria Orientia tsutsugamushi using a panel of fluorescent dyes. J Microbiol Methods 130: 169-176. PMI: 27582280

Giengkam S, Blakes A, Utsahajit P, Chaemchuen S, Atwal S, Blacksell SD, Paris DH, Day NP, Salje J (2015) Improved Quantification, Propagation, Purification and Storage of the Obligate Intracellular Human Pathogen Orientia tsutsugamushi. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9: e0004009. PMI: 26317517

Salje J, van den Ent F, de Boer P, Lowe J (2011) Direct membrane binding by bacterial actin MreB. Mol Cell 43: 478-487. PMI: 21816350

Salje J, Gayathri P, Lowe J (2010) The ParMRC system: molecular mechanisms of plasmid segregation by actin-like filaments. Nat Rev Microbiol 8: 683-692. PMI: 20844556

Salje J (2010) Plasmid segregation: how to survive as an extra piece of DNA. Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol 45: 296-317. PMI: 20586577

Salje J, Zuber B, Lowe J (2009) Electron cryomicroscopy of E. coli reveals filament bundles involved in plasmid DNA segregation. Science 323: 509-512. PMI: 19095899

Salje J, Lowe J (2008) Bacterial actin: architecture of the ParMRC plasmid DNA partitioning complex. EMBO J 27: 2230-2238. PMI: 18650930